Ethan White watched from the touchline as the Union attempted to hold their one-goal lead. Head Coach Jim Curtin would not look his way when his team needed a defender. Though the situation called for the introduction of a center back to allow for the movement of captain Maurice Edu to central midfield, White stayed rooted to the bench.
Instead, Curtin went to former captain Brian Carroll to fill the midfield void created by the departure of Cristian Maidana. Zach Pfeffer moved into Maidana's role, and Carroll, a career defensive midfielder, slotted right into Pfeffer's previous placement.
Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald asked about the reasoning behind Curtin's decision to go with the little-used Carroll in favor of inserting White during the post-game coach press conference. Curtin, usually happy to give off non-clichéd answers to questions, was standoffish about the inquiry.
Curtin made a statement about how White is a center back and Carroll is a midfielder, focusing on direct positional transfers. Tannenwald was contextually attempting to get Curtin to discuss why he chose to go with Carroll over White, and thus Edu at center back versus in the midfield.
In the end it all comes down to Curtin's inability to trust much of the depth within the Union at the moment. As C.J. Sapong and Maidana come back from injury and begin to get regain match fitness, the thought should be that the team's depth would improve. And it has offensively.
However, the defensive depth of the team - as well as the midfield depth - remains incredibly suspect. The club apparently, at least publicly, aimed to acquire a new left back and failed to do so. That left Fabinho as the only veteran left footed player, as well as the only veteran left footed left back depth. Sheanon Williams and Ray Gaddis are the only true fullbacks with consistently average or positive performances. The others have either disappointed (Fabinho) or shown their inexperience (Raymond Lee).
A similar situation is found within the center back corps. Beyond Edu and Steven Vitoria lies White and the untested Richie Marquez, who hasn't seen the field yet this year even though Curtin spoke highly of him heading into this season.
For a club that fails to grab the points it believes it should have right now, depth will become even more necessary as the season carries on and injuries and fatigue cause more problems than they already have for the Union.
Depth once again is a major problem for Philadelphia, like the accuracy of kicks by goalkeepers, dropping points late in games and left backs.